Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Isle of What?

This past week I've been experimenting more with the new ways to collect rep, valor and item upgrades for alts. My impression so far is that progression is much easier once a toon reaches ilvl 460 and begins LFR. Before that is still a heck of a grind, and expensive to boot.

LFR drops have indeed improved! Is that a sha-touched weapon? Why yes, for my druid who wasn't all that concerned with doing the legendary questline. With her lovely new staff, she is now much more interested in dropping comets on Mogu for the Golden Lotus, which will also help her reach exalted with the Black Prince. She still needs a lot of Sigils though, since LFR had been so unkind to her prior to the patch. She wouldn't have gotten into ToES LFR at all if not for a cash infusion for PVP shoulders and a lovely crafted fan from my recently defected priest....

...through some miracle of what remained of her immune system, Blatella the forsaken shadow priest found herself in human form once again. Better get out of Orgrimmar, and change your name, fast!

It wasn't a complete cure, unfortunately. Must have had a dormant case of the worgen curse while she was undead. No worries, it's good to be alive again!

So yeah, I moved my priest over to my Alliance server so she could provide crafted inscription goodies to my casters (and renamed her Myrmis, had to make the transformation complete). She's geared enough to begin Isle of Thunder-ing, but I want to run the Operation Shieldwall quests on her first to get her new Alliance affiliation in full swing. Although I'm loving her new worgen form, it felt really strange to be slaughtering Horde on the beach with Varian during the first quests. She can't let on that she was once one of them though, so she does as she's asked and keeps her poker face on.

Calyx crafted her lovely 476 goggles and has been spending her JP on 458 gear because she had received 0 armor drops for at least 12-15 heroics run this week. In keeping with her charming but gold-digging nature, she shook down Myrmis and Mnium for enough gold to buy a lovely crafted 476 frock off the auction house. Pretty much broke the bank, but between the dress and a valor-bought belt she's just two points away from LFR. In 4 days Myrmis will have enough Scrolls of Wisdom to craft a staff for her, so that will push her over the line if she still doesn't get anything to drop before then.

In conclusion, LFR has indeed been nice to my alts, particularly Mnium, and has encouraged me to do some dailies to get back up to speed with the legendary questline. The rep boost for single heroics is small but nice, and has been building up on Calyx as she needs to do at least a heroic a day for valor and gear. The option to do a scenario each day is nice too. Added to the work orders on the farm, and the reps are coming along nicely, although I was skeptical that they would make much difference when I first did them.

I'm not sure when I'll venture to the Isle of Thunder. I feel like I have plenty to do without adding all of the new factions. Myrmis is ready for the LFR and I'm not sure she'll run it this week, as she still needs 2 pieces of tier armor from the last bunch. I'm in no hurry, it will be there when I'm ready.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5.2 first impressions

I haven't even ventured onto the Isle of Thunder yet, although my Horde priest Blatella is pretty close. She ran Terrace LFR this morning and no armor upgrades (another belt, whee!), but she had enough valor afterwards to purchase the Golden Lotus robes. She really needs to start her Dominance Offensive stuff so she can get Revered with the Black Prince and all that. We shall see.

Last night Mnium got Nana Mudclaw's vote for Farmer Yoon, and planted more Snakeroot for Calyx's ore addiction. She ran MSV LFR and got a big upgrade (a helm) and a duplicate (a cape). Not enough valor for the Klaaxi legs and not revered with anyone else, so she'll be here for awhile. Oh, ran one heroic dungeon championing Golden Lotus, the rep reward wasn't huge but it will help. I guess I'm more looking forward to being able to do work orders for rep when her farm is complete.

New haircut, transmog and pet for Mnium! The transmog is based on the early Jade Forest quest rewards, with some Wrath PVP shoulders, gloves and boots that she bought with JP. Looks amazing with the purple hair! The mechanical Pandaren dragonling was crafted by Calyx the other day.

So Mnium will be looking awesome while she works on her farm and runs heroics the rest of the week!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A grand patch day for altoholics

It's Patch 5.2 day! I've updated the game via the launcher and I have a browser tab open to the Realm Status page, so I'll be ready to log in as soon as servers are back online (and I'm finished with my grading for the day, heh!).

I'm obviously not a raider, and I only have one toon geared enough to begin the 5.2 questing content, Wapsi, and she's on a bit of a vacation right now while I play my three caster girls. So why am I so excited about this patch?

I am an altoholic and an explorer. My "game" consists of creating and learning new characters, and exploring every little thing in the game with them. I suppose I have a short attention span and this is how I keep the game fresh. It's working, as I haven't come close to running out of things to do.

That said, this expansion thus far has placed one roadblock in my enjoyment of alts: the endgame rep grinds. I am more than happy to grind rep one time, to see the content and get the achievement. My enhancement shaman Wapsi did this, and got the commendations for all of the factions to make subsequent grinds easier.

It wasn't enough. I burned out hard on Golden Lotus by my third level 90 toon. Because this faction gates access to Shado-Pan and August Celestials, I can't even move to those latter factions with my new level 90s just to keep things fresh. Level 90s have no choice but to begin their endgame with conscription by the Golden Lotus. Add this to incredibly bad luck with drops in LFR, and these toons will languish for weeks without the gear to move into the 5.1 content.

The 5.1 factions are also gated by LFR and rep grinds, since you need sigils and rep with the Black Prince in order to progress his storyline so that your kills for Shieldwall/Dominance Offensive count towards getting Revered with him.

Feeling stuck on my level 90s for the above reasons, this past week I've mostly switched to working on a rep grind that I have not gotten tired of on my level 90s- Tillers. Once I recalled that I could farm motes and ore for my engineer and inscriptionist, I got excited about this faction again.

Another rep grind that I haven't minded doing repeatedly? The Klaaxi, simply because I can now reach revered with them simply by completing level 89-90 in Dread Wastes and sticking to the Klaaxi quests alone. This could also be the case with the Shado-Pan, as selecting the appropriate quests in Kun-Lai Summit and Townlong Steppes gets me about halfway to revered. But again, the damned Golden Lotus gating means I can't finish up the path to revered until I run around in the Valley hitting Mogu for two weeks.

It all boils down to this: WoW is a game I play for enjoyment, and my gaming time is limited. When I log in and see that my choices for progressing through content consist of running Golden Lotus quests that I have done umpteen times before, and spending two hours in LFR after which I will receive not one item upgrade for my efforts, I feel like I have not had a good playing experience. And I will quickly run out of motivation to play those toons, despite having greatly enjoyed them during the leveling process. I can always level more alts, but eventually the roadblock at endgame is going to dampen my desire to do that as well.

That all said: from what I have read so far, I think this new patch is going to solve a lot of the issues with the futile hamster wheel of endgame. I came to this conclusion this morning while I drank my coffee and read blog posts by The Grumpy Elf and Azuriel of In An Age. As soon as servers come back online today, I will be able to tackle Golden Lotus rep in four new ways (three of which will work for my new-ish level 90s):

Daily scenario: 325 rep
Daily heroic dungeon: 750 rep
Work orders on my Tillers farms: 2 each day for 400 rep @
Rare spawns on the new quest hub island: 1000 rep

I am now excited to log onto my newly 90 elemental shaman and run a scenario and dungeon, not just for the hope of gear upgrades, but so she can work on Golden Lotus rep. Or, she could just skip to Shado-Pan since she's closer to revered. Choices, yay! The Tillers work orders will be available soon enough, as all of my level 90s are working hard to open up their farms so they can collect crafting materials.

On to gearing up. First off, valor gear for all of the 5.0 factions has decreased in price by 50%, and that of the 5.1 factions decreased by 25%. Add to that additional valor rewards for running particular heroics and scenarios (the toughest ones it seems), and getting my ilevel up for LFR will be much, much easier.

Scenarios and heroics will now also award more justice points, which doesn't seem like it will help with much except obtaining the JP faction gear for transmogging (yes, that was already on my list for my shaman!).

I am very curious to see how quickly I can get my elemental shaman into LFR, my boomkin into the second tier of LFR, and my priest into the newly released LFR with these changes. One week? Two? Excitement!

I nearly wept tears of joy when I saw the transmog changes as reported on WoW Roleplay Gear. Swords, maces and axes are now interchangeable! Just this weekend my shaman found the Klaaxi Blade of the Poisoned Mind, a BoA caster sword, and of course shaman can't use swords. Will she be able to use this for transmog? I will be testing this out if Calyx gets a one-handed weapon at some point, because the Klaaxi sword is beautiful and I would really like to use it somehow!

And last but not least, so many class changes this patch, and some really exciting ones for the classes I play! For the first time since Mists dropped, shaman are getting some attention. For my elemental shaman, I am looking forward to:
   -Chain Lightning will now deal the same damage to subsequent targets as it does to the first
   -Elemental Mastery now has a 90 second cooldown (was 2 minutes)
   -Stone Bulwark Totem now absorbs 25% more damage
   -Glyph of Flame now causes the shaman to heal for 30% of the damage dealt by Flame Shock
   -Flame Shock duration has been increased by 25%
   -Lava Burst always deals a critical strike, and when cast on targets affected by Flame Shock, deals 50% more damage
   -Elemental Focus and Shamanism passive buffs give greater increases in spell damage and Lightning Bolt damage, respectively

I am really looking forward to seeing how all of these changes work out; if Calyx does a little more damage with her Lightning Bolts, and is a little less squishy, I will be ecstatic!